Skip to main content
JUBA - 2 May 2021

‘Gen. Olony does not intend to defect’-SPLA-IO chief Gen. Gatwich

The SPLA-IO Chief of General Staff Gen. Simon Gatwich Dual has said Gen. Johnson Olony who commands the Agwelek Division of the outfit has no intentions of defecting and or forming a new rebel group.

In a telephone interview with Radio Tamazuj, Gen. Gatwich rubbished talk of Gen. Olony defecting and referred to them as mere rumors.

“These are administrative matters. Gen. Johnson Olony promoted himself to First Lieutenant General because there are issues. He promoted himself and his men in the Agwelek Division because Dr. Riek Machar promoted officers without consulting or telling me who is the Chief of Staff and also not telling Gen. Olony,” he said. "Gen. Olony has no problem. He joined the armed opposition, and the movement’s leader, Riek Machar, is not carrying out his requests and everyone in the movement agreed that Olony would be the governor of Upper Nile State, but Juba refused and Dr. Riek also refused, and this is one of the administrative reasons.”

Asked if it was right for Gen. Olony to promote himself, Gen. Gatwich said, “It is wrong but where did it start from? It started with Dr. Machar.”

Gen. Gatwich denied that Gen. Olony is in talks with the government in Juba or other groups and intends to form another rebel group and added that all those are rumors.

“Let me tell you the truth. Olony has no contact and is not in talks with the government. He does not. Anybody who says Olony wants to defect to the government is lying. Those are just lies,” according to Gen. Gatwich. “He (Olony) knows that the peace agreement is not in place and that is why he cannot go to Juba. Even as the Chief of Staff, I cannot go to Juba. I can only go if there is implementation.”

Tasked to explain why he has not gone to Juba, Gen. Gatwich said, “The issue written in the peace agreement that the forces should be taken for training, passed out and taken to Juba after nine months has not been implemented. Nine months elapsed, and another eight months and three months elapsed and this issue has not been implemented. No forces have been graduated and taken to Juba.”

He added, “The soldiers in the training centers don’t even have food and medicines and they have also been politicized, bribed, and compromised so that they desert. The security arrangements, permanent constitution, and parliament have also not been implemented. These are the reasons I have not gone to Juba. If the forces graduate, I will go to Juba. There is no peace, they are just wasting time.”

Asked if he is communicating with Dr. Riek Machar, Gen. Gatwich said, “Yes, I know Dr. Riek Machar is my leader. I wrote to him to visit our areas so that he can know what his forces and people are thinking. There is no peace agreement to implement. Dr. Riek is still a prisoner in Juba and he can’t even go to church and he cannot even visit us and he cannot go to any place. He has no work in Juba.”

In a parting shot, Gen. Gatwich reassured the people of South Sudan, “I want to tell the people of South Sudan that the peace agreement has not collapsed but there are administrative issues that remain unresolved. All these administrative issues can be resolved.”